Mixed Signals

Straight-forward gaming

At the time of this writing, Wizards of the Coast is continuing their attempt to revoke the Open Gaming License. It doesn't much matter, at this point, whether they succeed. They've made their intent clear. They've made it impossible to trust them as caretakers of the legacy of the world's first rol...

In a recent leaked document, Wizards of the Coast has apparently threatened to revoke the Open Gaming License version 1.0a by stating that it will become "unauthorized." From what some lawyers are saying on the Internet, because the OGL 1.0a license does not use the magic word "irrevocable," this is...

When I first got into miniature wargaming and painting, I thought all miniatures were created equal. The only difference, to me, was that some miniatures were for fantasy, others for sci fi, and still others for historical settings. But I've come to realise that miniatures vary greatly in not just c...

I've written about the RPG metagame debate before, and one contributing factor to what I'll call "metagame anxiety" is familiarity with an adventure. For the record, I don't usually mind the metagame. I believe it can be a fun and valuable part of the game. But some people get concerned that a pla...

As players level up in an RPG, they expect increased challenge. They want bigger monsters that are harder to kill and that threaten to kill them first, faster.

The formula seems like it would be simple: As player characters level-up and gain hit points, you make the monsters deal more damage. In o...

As a hobbyist game designer, I have the distinct advantages of making lots of mistakes. Mistakes are great, because you learn from them, but as a bonus you learn to see the mistakes you made in other people's designs.

Lately, the mistake I've been hyper-focused on is the lack of tags in games....

Lately I've been playing a lot of D&D online, and the games often only last for the duration of a single module. Groups come together to play through a 20 or 30 page adventure, the game lasts for a few sessions, and then ends. (My current online gaming group, admittedly, was only supposed to game to...

I was reading through a published adventure a few days ago, and noticed something odd about the way it got started. As written, the player characters are meant to wander into the game world individually, and then meet one another as they travel. The module tells the Dungeon Master to prompt each pla...

I play 5e every week, and I absolutely love it. So it may seem strange that I simultaneously believe that the 3rd edition (specifically 3.5) of D&D remains the definitive incarnation of the game.

You might think nostalgia's to blame, but in fact I have nostalgia for 2nd edition DragonLance and Pla...

There are three incarnations of the fantasy tradition of half-sized humans that come to my mind when I think about halflings. I admit there are more than that worth considering, but my knowledge and experience is limited. For instance, the halflings of Athas in Dead Sun are savage and cannibalist...

You may know Magic the Gathering as a card game, but many Magic the Gathering (MTG) players also know it as a multiverse of rich lore and exciting tales of adventure. Wizards of the Coast, the creators of MTG, have published books (both hardcover and online) and comics about the characters an...

If you've been a longtime Magic the Gathering player, or else just a longtime fan like me, then you may recall the Portal and Portal Second Age sets from the late 90s. If you're too new to the game to recall the Portal sets, then there's roughly an equal chance you may or may not have...

If I had a gold piece for every time a game has been derailed because two players stop to discuss whether they're guilty of accidental "metagaming", I'd be a as wealthy as a brass dragon (not that brass dragons are any richer than any other dragon, necessarily, but they are my favourite dragon)....

I presented at an international tech conference this week, speaking about game design and, specifically, the Lua programming language (which you might know if you ever tried your hand at modding World of Warcraft or Garry's Mod, and a dozen other games and software titles).

To mix things up...

One of the cool things Klaatu has cooked up for us with this blog is a way to load it with content, to be published on set dates in the future. Now, lots of blogging software allows for that sort of functionality, but our situation is unusual; we use the version control system Git on the back e...

Yesterday, Klaatu and I worked on rolling up a character for Starfinder. We recorded it for a future Hacker Public Radio episode, which he volunteered to edit. Klaatu was traveling that day, and we got ready to record once he got settled in his motel room. It was a comedy of errors at first, d...